The Conservation Value of Forest Fragments in The Increasingly Agrarian Landscape of Sumatra

Weiskopf S. R, J. L. McCarthy, K. P. McCarthy, A. N. Shiklomanov, H. T. Wibisono, W. Pusparini.
2019. Environmental Conservation.


Destruction of tropical rainforests reduces many unprotected habitats to small fragments of remnant forests within agricultural matrices. To date, these remnant forest fragments have been largely disregarded as wildlife habitat, and little is known about mammalian use of these areas in Sumatra. Here, we conducted camera trap surveys (2285 trap-nights) within Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park and five surrounding remnant forest fragments during 2010–2013 and used species composition metrics to compare use. We found 28 mammal species in the protected forest and 21 in the fragments. The fragments harboured a subset of species found in the protected forest and several species not observed in the protected forest. Critically endangered species such as Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) and Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) were found in the forest fragments, along with species of conservation concern such as marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata) and Asiatic golden cat (Pardofelis temminckii). The biodiversity found within the fragments suggests that these small patches of remnant forest may have conservation value to certain mammal species and indicates the importance of further research into the role these habitats may play in landscape-level, multispecies conservation planning.
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Photo by SINTAS Indonesia Biodiversity Team